Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; and the reproach of His people He will take away from off all the earth, for the Lord has spoken it.”
Isaiah 25:8, Amplified Bible
In Narrow Ways
“Some lives are set in narrow ways,
By Love’s wise tenderness.
They seem to suffer all their days
Life’s direct storm and stress.
But God shall raise them up at length,
His purposes are sure,
He for their weakness shall give strength,
For every ill a cure.”
John Oxenham, Bees In Amber
Today’s Study Text:
“And one of the King of Israel (Jehoram’s) servants answered and said, ‘Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah. And Jehoshaphat said, ‘The word of the Lord is with him. So the King of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the King of Edom went down to (Elisha). And Elisha said unto the King of Israel, ‘What have I to do with thee? Get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother.’ And the King of Israel said unto him, ‘Nay: for the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.’ And Elisha said, ‘As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the King of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.”
II Kings 3: 11-14, K.J.V.
“The Presence of Jehoshaphat”
“God can bring good out of the extremes of our own folly.”
J. I. Packer, Knowing God
What influence and affect do I think Jehoshaphat’s presence had on the outcome of the disaster in the desert wilderness in Edom?
Has there ever been an experience in my life where I have seen the affect of good triumph over the influence of evil?
“When our lives are yielded to the Spirit’s control, God is certain to work through us in leaving His mark on those around us.”
Henry and Mel Blackaby
“Occasions of adversity best discover how great virtue or strength each one hath. For occasions do not make a man (or woman) frail, but the reveal what he (or she) is.”
Thomas á Kempis, 15th Century
The word “occasion,” as defined by Webster’s Dictionary means: “an occurrence or incident and the time which it happens.”
If we take this definition and apply it to the verses found in II Kings 3: 11-14, we uncover the fact that Elisha had followed, evidently behind, the pack of three kings from Judah, Israel and Edom who had decided, without much forethought, to take on the King of Moab in war.
Now to better understand what was transpiring, King Jehoshaphat, the only worshipper of God, asked if they couldn’t consult a prophet of God for advice. Especially since they had run out of water and were in desperate straits. Heavenly advice was what this king felt they needed now.
Fortunately, one of King Jehoram’s servants knew Elisha was close at hand. However, we find that there was a distinct difference between how he referred to Elisha and how King Jehoshaphat referred to Elisha. The servant of Jehoram said that Elisha was the guy who, “poured water on the hands of Elijah.” In other words, this servant referred to Elisha as nothing but a house-boy or helper of Elijah’s. We could even go so far as to find his reference to Elisha rather demeaning.
However, when King Jehoshaphat heard that Elisha was close at hand, he stated, “The word of the Lord is with him.”
Elisha’s influence and reputation had already spread throughout Judah, even though this was not the main area of his ministry. And so, because of King Jehoshaphat’s faith in the word of Elisha, the three kings went to meet with this man of God.
Elisha had quite a message for this group. But first of all, he directed his comments toward the wayward King of Israel, Jehoram. F. W. Krummacher, in his fascinating, in-depth volume entitled, Elisha, offers this perspective:
“Elisha first addresses Jehoram. This unprincipled monarch merited an open rebuke. What had he cared hitherto for Jehovah, or for any of his prophets? But now that the Almighty had suddenly stopped him in his career, a reluctant submission is extorted from him, so that this son of Jezebel no longer feels it beneath him to approach one of the Lord’s prophets in the humblest manner, to obtain his advice, intercession, and assistance.”
As author Krummacher observes though, King Jehoram’s desire for Elisha’s help on this “occasion,” when he found himself between a rock-and-a-hard-place, wasn’t due to some conversion experience, but rather it was induced in the same way even “the devils tremble and believe.” And Elisha knew this for he spoke very pointedly to King Jehoram when he asked, “Why don’t you go get help from the god of our dad and mom?” In other words, “Where is Baal when you need him?” Jehoram’s desire for Elisha’s aid was only because he faced a dead-end he couldn’t get out of.
With this knowledge, Elisha went a step further by telling Jehoram, “Were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the King of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.”
It is this specific fact, highlighted on this specific occasion, which provides illumination for events that we encounter today in the 21st century for I believe that God’s mercy is extended to all because of those who like King Jehoshaphat, call out for God, in spite of rebellion and apostasy.
Our Father’s love reaches out to all, but in an age when there is widespread contempt and often absolute denial of the God of heaven and earth, the merciful dew from our Father reaches even those whose desire for heavenly wisdom is non-existent. I believe it is because there are children of God who intercede for those like Jehoram whose blatant apostasy is revealed directly, yet in times of extreme emergency, God’s servants, the Elisha’s in the camp, step forward to serve those who may not feel their need of God’s love and by doing so, salvation breaks forth as the sun’s early morning rays.
The next time you and I find ourselves feeling defeated by the evil we encounter around us, we can gain great encouragement as we reflect upon the words of Elisha, “I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat.”
Today, I believe there is a message from our Father in heaven, “I regard the presence of Marilyn…she’s a lighthouse at her job.” “I regard the presence of Rob for he is a bulwark for truth for Me in his home.”
I pray that God’s Word in my life today is, “I regard the presence of Dorothy” for it is this pronouncement of faithfulness that is what I yearn for and it is what I know you long for too on any given occasion and in every specific circumstance in your life when you can be a witness for your Father’s tender love.
I found the words penned by Dale Ralph Davis to be a clear warning to all of us as we think about this event in the wilderness of Edom:
“Chew a bit on Elisha’s words. Do you hear him? He is saying that Jehoram is beyond the help of Yahweh’s word – if it weren’t for Jehoshaphat. That is a frightening implication…How might you know if you are in danger of this? Well, if your pattern is to seek God, like Jehoram, only for your convenience so that you are trifling with God. That was Jehoram. He wanted to use the word of God in the moment but not to submit to it long-tern. Jehoramites view the word of God as something for emergency only…God is simply the airbag in the disasters of life.”
I find it uplifting and truth-filled to read the words of Matthew Henry as he sums up Elisha’s words to King Jehoram: “It is a good thing being with those that have God’s favour.” Just think of the “host” that was blessed by the presence of Jehoshaphat on this occasion. May the same be said about your presence and mine, today.
“God speaks to us today because we need His definite and deliberate direction for our lives…We need His counsel for effective decision making.”
“Open my eyes that I may see,
Incline my heart that I may desire,
Order my steps that I may follow
The way of Your commandments.”
“O God, the God of all goodness and grace,
who art worthy of a greater love
than we can either give or understand;
Fill our hearts, we beseech Thee,
with such love towards Thee
that nothing may seem too hard for
us to do or suffer
in obedience to Thy will;
and grant that thus loving Thee,
we may become daily more like unto Thee
and finally obtain the crown of life
which Thou hast promised to those
that love Thee;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
B. F. Westccott
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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